Survival and development of potato psyllid (Hemiptera: Triozidae) on Convolvulaceae: Effects of a plant-fungus symbiosis (Periglandula). Academic Article uri icon


  • Plant species in the family Solanaceae are the usual hosts of potato psyllid, Bactericera cockerelli (ulc) (Hemiptera: Psylloidea: Triozidae). However, the psyllid has also been shown to develop on some species of Convolvulaceae (bindweeds and morning glories). Developmental success on Convolvulaceae is surprising given the rarity of psyllid species worldwide associated with this plant family. We assayed 14 species of Convolvulaceae across four genera (Convolvulus, Calystegia, Ipomoea, Turbina) to identify species that allow development of potato psyllid. Two populations of psyllids were assayed (Texas, Washington). The Texas population overlaps extensively with native Convolvulaceae, whereas Washington State is noticeably lacking in Convolvulaceae. Results of assays were overlain on a phylogenetic analysis of plant species to examine whether Convolvulaceae distantly related to the typical host (potato) were less likely to allow development than species of Convolvulaceae more closely related. Survival was independent of psyllid population and location of the plant species on our phylogenetic tree. We then examined whether presence of a fungal symbiont of Convolvulaceae (Periglandula spp.) affected psyllid survival. These fungi associate with Convolvulaceae and produce a class of mycotoxins (ergot alkaloids) that may confer protection against plant-feeding arthropods. Periglandula was found in 11 of our 14 species, including in two genera (Convolvulus, Calystegia) not previously known to host the symbiont. Of these 11 species, leaf tissues from five contained large quantities of two classes of ergot alkaloids (clavines, amides of lysergic acid) when evaluated by LC-MS/MS. All five species also harbored Periglandula. No ergot alkaloids were detected in species free of the fungal symbiont. Potato psyllid rapidly died on the five species that harbored Periglandula and contained ergot alkaloids, but survived to adulthood on seven of the nine species in which ergot alkaloids were not detected. These results support the hypothesis that a plant-fungus symbiotic relationship affects the suitability of certain Convolvulaceae to potato psyllid.

published proceedings

  • PLoS One

author list (cited authors)

  • Kaur, N., Cooper, W. R., Duringer, J. M., Badillo-Vargas, I. E., Esparza-Daz, G., Rashed, A., & Horton, D. R.

complete list of authors

  • Kaur, Navneet||Cooper, William Rodney||Duringer, Jennifer M||Badillo-Vargas, Ismael E||Esparza-Díaz, Gabriela||Rashed, Arash||Horton, David R

editor list (cited editors)

  • Prager, S. M.

publication date

  • January 1, 2018 11:11 AM